Montana FOI Resources

Quick Information | FOI Hotline | Contacts | Form Letters | Publications

 
Montana Freedom of Information Hotline, Inc. (NFOIC Affiliate)
Contact: Melody Martinsen, Chairwoman
acantha@3rivers.net
P.O. Box 320
Choteau, MT  59422
406-466-2403

Montana FOI Resources
Participating members: The Associated Press, Montana Newspaper Association, Montana Broadcasters Association, SPJ Montana Pro Chapter, The University of Montana School of Journalism

QUICK FOI INFORMATION

Open Meetings Law Montana Code 2-3-201 et seq.
Closed: Matters involving individual privacy and litigation between government entities and private parties. Citizens may file suit to overturn decisions made in allegedly illegal meetings. However, in 2006, the Montana Supreme Court ruled that citizens who challenge a decision must prove that it caused them "actual harm" over and above that of an ordinary taxpayer or citizen.

Open Records Law Montana Code 2-6-101 et seq.
The law gives citizens the right to inspect any "public writings" of the state except as prohibited by statute. Recent legislation removed several exemptions to the law, thus opening records, including death certificates.
Exempt: Records may be closed if the right to individual privacy clearly exceeds the public's right to know. However, the Montana Supreme Court has upheld challenges to statutes or executive branch decisions that closed records, ruling that the constitutional public right to know outweighed the individual privacy interest.

CONSTITUTION OF THE STATE OF MONTANA

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FOI HOTLINE

Montana Freedom of Information Hotline, Inc.
The Montana Freedom of Information Hotline is dedicated to keeping the operations of government in Montana open to public observation and participation. It seeks to accomplish that by providing free legal advice and assistance to journalists and members of the public confronted with improperly closed government doors or sealed documents.
Contact: Mike Meloy
mike@meloylawfirm.com

P.O. Box 1241
Helena, MT  59624
406-442-8670
http://www.montanafoi.org

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CONTACTS

Office of the Attorney General
Justice Building
215 North Sanders, Third Floor
Helena, MT 59620-1401
Phone (406) 444-2026
Fax (406) 444-3549
http://doj.mt.gov/
Email contactdoj@mt.gov

State Bar of Montana
7 W. 6th Ave., Ste. 2B
P.O. Box 577
Helena, MT 59624
Phone (406) 442-7660
Fax (406) 442-7763
http://www.montanabar.org/
mailbox@montanabar.org

Montana Newspaper Association
825 Great Northern Blvd. Ste. 202
Helena, Montana 59601
Phone (406) 443-2850 (800) 325-8276 (in Montana); Fax (406) 443-2860
http://www.mtnewspapers.com/

State Sunshine Chair
Ian Marquand
PAX-TV
4 Katsota CT
Missoula, MT 59806
Phone (406) 542-4449
marquand.im@gmail.com

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FORM LETTERS

The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press
1101 Wilson Blvd., Suite 1100
Arlington, Virginia 22209
Phone (800) 336-4243 or (703) 807-2100
Email rcfp@rcfp.org
FOIA Letter Generator

 

Student Press Law Center
1101 Wilson Blvd., Suite 1100
Arlington, Virginia 22209
Phone (703) 807-1904
Email splc@splc.org
Request Letter Generator

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PUBLICATIONS

Access in Montana Frequently Asked Questions: A Guide for Journalists and Citizens was prepared by the University of Montana School of Journalism, edited by Clem P. Work, 2005, 16 p., edited by Mike Meloy in 2013.
This brochure explains the basic laws pertaining to access to public records, the courts and open meetings in Montana.
Format: Brochure 5-1/2 in. by 8 in.
Order from: 

Montana Newspaper Association
825 Great Northern Blvd.
Ste. 202
Helena, MT 59601
Phone (406) 443-2850
Download PDF document from www.montanafoi.org

Reporter's wallet card -- A brief summary of what a reporter should do when faced with a possibly illegal meeting or courtroom closure or a denial of access to public records.
Order from:

Montana Newspaper Association
825 Great Northern Blvd.
Ste. 202
Helena, MT 59601
Phone (406) 443-2850
Download PDF document from www.montanafoi.org

Open Government Guide from the
Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press

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